Sunday, February 19, 2017

Speaking of government, it is a huge organization that holds bar about operating a nation full of people through the set of laws and jurisdictions where each and every mechanism as per technicalities of it sets to play on each and every lives. And with that, the center of the topic about the government is all about its primary functions, roles, duties and responsibilities each and every part of it do play.


DISCUSSION OVERVIEW
Chart overview. Via Slideshare.
A political science student or those who take law school requires to know about the government and its functions. Add to that various criminologists, accountants, and military cadets who will give a portion of those studies that needs to get learned. In such cases, it is known that a government is simply an entity which is capable to control all aspects of life from taxation to foreign policy, or from order to national security. For that matter, it is necessary for each and every reader to know the basics.

The government in the Philippines comes in three branches: The Legislative Branch in which they make laws ranging from tax tables to Government Appropriations, the Executive Branch in which they implement laws through different departments and commissions, and the Judiciary which they check the validity of the laws as it is proportionate to the constitution which at present, they use the 1987 constitution where it is for the welfare for each and every individual and their right. One needs to know several points when it comes about the government functions alongside different rights of the people:
- Elective or appointive public officials or employees cannot accept any present, compensation, office or title of any kind from any foreign government without the consent of the Congress (Legislative Branch).
- Cultural Rights is indeed a right in which it ensure the wellbeing of the individual and foster preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of national culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.
- Right that guarantees similar treatment to all persons similarly situated and precludes arbitrary or unjust discrimination to secure and safeguard such right is called the right to the equal protection of the law
- The right to privacy of a person is defined as one’s right to be free from unwarranted publicity.
- A voter is disqualified from exercising the right to suffrage if said voter has been a resident of the Philippine for less than six months.
- A Vice President may be appointed as member of the Cabinet without needing confirmation from the Commission on Appointments.
- The right of private individuals to secure for themselves the enjoyment of their means of happiness such as the right to a name, the right to form a family, and the right to security of personal papers and effects are called civil rights.
- It should be at least five (5) years after the Constitution has been ratified that the people may propose amendments through initiative.
- Religious Sectors are not represented in a Party-list system.
- Only the Commission of Elections can exercise original and exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election returns and the qualifications of the President and the Vice President.
- A Judge responsible for determining the existence of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest or search warrant.
These are just some of the things that one badly needs to know. Other than these things, the government goes with three basic functions: taxation which its power by which the sovereign thru the legislature raises revenue to support the necessary expenditures of the government from office replenishment to road repairs as well as from a school classroom construction to procuring brand new military equipments to the AFP; eminent domain which such power of the state or those whom the power has been delegated to take private property for public use upon paying the owner a just compensation; and police power which is the power of the state to enact such laws in relation to persons and property as may promote public health, public morals, public safety and the general welfare of the people.

Through the years, the roles of the government affect the people so much that the people has a right to change course of the nation's progress through suffrage or elections on positions that usually last three to six years as per term. Speaking of which, the main point of matter in this discussion will be ranging from the president's exercise of power to the role of Judiciary on a neutral point of view where the constitution matters without any political bias.

OPINIONATED FACTS WITH BASIS

Government functions is somewhat a complex one where basis to support facts that needs deep research. And for the sake of making it simple, it is appropriate to us here in The Pitzviews to share links and point out an opinion basing it from facts. And in that case, there are several key questions that needs answer from our point of view (plus links of course!)

Question #1: Critique the exercise of power the presidents of the Philippine have from the Arroyo administration to the present Duterte administration
Philippines' last five Presidents. Via Wikimedia Commons
The exercise of power especially on implementing laws lies to the President where it was delegated to the various departments it unders. In such cases, it determines the policy of an administration in the said matter where each and every laws implemented as well as the policies the government wants to pursue therein gives an insight where it determines the performance of the presidency in general.

During the Arroyo administration, it was known that the government at that time wanted to pursue a robust macroeconomic measures wherein the succeeding Aquino administration adapted which it gives the Philippines a bullish economic standpoint that is far more resilient than the other economies in Asia with the exception of the 2008 Global Economic Crisis that gives a blow a little bit to the poverty incidence in the country. In other fields meanwhile such as national security and foreign policy, down sides are being highlighted wherein military procurements under the Arroyo administration is either slow or nonexistent with having the 2009 archipelagic baselines law one of the basis in the claims Philippines have in the West Philippine Sea alongside UNCLOS. Other than these things, women empowerment was emphasized in her period as well as for abolishing Mandatory ROTC and Death Penalty. All of her achievements can be seen here and here. Now to her exercise of power as the president. Aside from her exercise of power that have may led to her achievements, there are also downsides as well. For instance, there are 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, 2006 State of Emergency and the 2007 Manila Peninsula incident which involved coup plotters as given a sign of dissatisfaction to the way the government was run by the said administration through the so-called lack of progress made in that administration. Take note that she also given the former president Estrada presidential clemency as well under her tenure plus different issues such as the NBN-ZTE deal which was then plagued by graft and corruption. Nonetheless, the ups and downs of the president was given where her exercise in power gives her legacy in which the people remembered. (References: [1][2][3][4][5])

Now to the Aquino administration. Several of the programs from Arroyos are inherited by this administration despite some political vendetta that led to Arroyo's imprisonment (which was freed later on). This was ranging from macroeconomic policy, better peso value in currency exchanges and several military procurements like the MRV/SSV program (Tarlac-class LPDs). The president contributed much to the military especially to the so-called Revised AFP Modernization Program where FA-50PH were procured, additional C-130s were procured, Del Pilar-class frigates were procured and so on. Aside from those things, the Public to Private Partnerships (PPP) and credit ratings improved that investor confidence in the country also increases that it helped the economy of the nation. More of these can be seen here. Also, like his predecessor, the administration also face trials that will test his exercise as president. Three of these prominent things are the 2013 Zamboanga Siege, the Ever-growing disputes against China over the West Philippine Sea, and an ever-controversial Mamasapano incident where chain of command was in question that led to the demise of 44 SAF troopers which until now, their families are seeking for justice (many military men may say this a politicized, ever-exaggerating thing that Medal of Valor will be vandalized through this matter.) (References: [1][2][3][4][5])

We are now under the administration of Pres. Duterte which is keen on solving the drug problem as well as the graft and corruption problem and federalism which was aim to distribute wealth across nations. The effects of his exercise in power at present sends shockwaves across the country where his very loyal supporters will proudly say that "change has come". Unto this, it was known that both 8888 and 911 are now used as hotlines to report corruption, incompetence and emergency measures the way the President ran Davao City when he was still the mayor. On foreign affairs, he change the status quo of the Philippines from a nation primarily leaning on the United States to a nation pursuing a so-called independent foreign policy which have resulted to a series of Charm Offensives wherein nations such as China, Japan, Russia as well as the US are doing their best to win the hearts and minds of the Filipino people where the nation lies in a strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region. (Reference: [1][2][3][4][5])

In our point of view, all exhibited their powers to the two extremes where each and every administration aforementioned has its ups and downs which determine their legacy in the improvement of the nation in general. Of all the Presidents, President Arroyo gives the political will on the economy which was adapted by President Aquino together with several modernization programs such as those in the AFP as well as battling corruption. President Duterte meanwhile imposing his power on drug elimination which gives a significant impact to the society where the so-called change was felt by the public as per own interpretation has its own up and down sides. Overall, it signifies the powers of each president are to be implied to the policies they create especially the ones they are promising in their respective election campaigns.

Question #2: Appraise the impact of the Congress' importance to the Philippine Development.
The House of Representatives. From GOVPH website.
By concept, each and every laws made by the Congress that are approved by the legislative sets an impact to the society in general wherein it sets to dictate the way things run as well as operate in which it will adhere the welfare of the people prescribed by the constitution. It ranges from business laws to tax revisions as well as new sets of guidelines on various aspects of life to the General Appropriations Act.

Taking this PDF file of the Philippine Senate, the Philippine Congress lay economic policies in which it affects the country as a whole. Considerably, this 2010 report shows the strengths and weaknesses of the economy in which it paved the way for appropriate actions that makes the Philippine Economy output improved since 2010 onwards (See: Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016) to the present where numerous sources predicted that by 2050, the Philippines will belong to the top 20 greatest economies of the world alongside Vietnam and South Korea. Meanwhile, House Bills such as these given by the congress is just an example of the things that affects economic growth where in this case, it affects the real estate market where the said law is stipulate to set limits and standardized values given thereof.

Speaking of which, the legislative like the executive also played the key role for the economic progress where the two work hand in hand to achieve the goals of a better nation having an improved economy which the masses will benefit where there are more cash in their hands.

Question #3: Discuss how the judiciary exercises political neutrality and fairness.
Facade of the Supreme Court. Courtesy of Rappler.
By nature, the judiciary is a fair and just system where its decisions are based on the grounds as stipulated by the law that instills neutrality and fairness rather than to the judgement of the legislative or the executive where by law, the President installs his set of Chief and Associate Justices in the Supreme Court.

In this PDF file entitled "Perspectives on Judicial Independence in the Philippine Politico-Ethical Nomos" gives an insight on both the fairness and unfairness of the justice system in the country. Accordingly, the judiciary's basic guide for doing its decision is the constitution where in this discussion promotes neutrality and fairness. In such cases, the credibility of the judiciary was once hampered by the ouster of the Chief Justice Renato Corona last 2012 due to the so-called anomalies in the justice system under his tenure. That in which puts the very judicial exercise at risk where things simply just politicized up back then. On the bright side though, the Priority Disbursement Assistance fund or simply Pork Barrel was instigated by Corona's successor Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wherein several Senators at that time were imprisoned for having such funds used in other purposes not allowed by the Government in which it sowed corruption (Source: 1 & 2). Meanwhile, there is some sort of a "Code of Judicial Conduct" where a law practitioner shall observe at all times in which it is to observe professionalism and to retain credibility on the judiciary under the perspective of neutrality and fairness. 

In summary, neutrality and fairness is not always observed where several practitioners are somewhat unaware or aware that a bias is already made that hamper the result of a given case or a rule that sometimes runs contrary to the sentiments of the people. In such case though, the code of judicial conduct assures the limitations of those in the judiciary that observing it assures full credibility of the system.

Question #4: Evaluate the performance of the Philippine judiciary as a dispenser of justice and a protector of constitutional safeguard to freedom.

In this question, it will be based once again to this the same PDF file as is in number three. In this case, several ups and downs are already discussed in the previous question wherein it will be further emphasized here in order to suit up the things we discussed here.

In this case, if we are to based the judiciary from 1 to 10 on the basis on its job as a dispenser of justice and a protector of constitutional safeguard to freedom, their performance will fell somewhere between 6 or 7. It is because that in terms of justice earned, some of them are still seeking for justice where it comes with a saying "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied." Take the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre as a perfect example for this matter where until now, the case is still on-going with the uncertainty as when it will be end. The good side meanwhile is that Associate Justice Carpio is keen on the campaign on the Philippine Sovereignty to its territory on the West Philippine Sea where he emphasizes the constitution that it safeguards the freedom of the Filipinos to exploit the West Philippine Sea and its resources especially for the fishermen who have their lives relying on it. 

Overall, there is much to be done to the system itself that the ideals for just, neutral and fair justice is for everyone that those who commit crimes are worthy to pay their prices that they shall pay for damages, spend time in prison or if approved, subject to death penalty.

CONCLUSION

The Philippines is nation which it comes up with its own laws and jurisdiction where in it dictates its sovereignty through government policies for the benefit of its citizens. Moreover, the functions of the government is essential to keep the lives of around 100 million Filipino citizens moving as well as keeping services, law and order in good condition that gives the fullest of satisfaction and trust of the people. In these case, there are always good and bad episodes in the country that are out as the result of good and bad decisions that dictate the performance of the government. These in which serve as an experience not only to those in the government service, but also to the people that in the future, they will vote based on performance rather than popularity that the progress of the country and as well the Filipino Family being the core of the Philippine Society lies at stake.

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